The Flight To Sweden: Part 1
The sitting and waiting—that's the boring part. I enjoy running around and being super busy and having too many things to do. I'd rather bound over screaming babies all out of breath and sweaty and disheveled than sit quietly in the airport lounge. But, there aren't any babies to leap over or stretches of hallway begging me to tear through them. This airport is way too relaxed for me.
The flight was superb. Kudos to Air France. The last few transatlantic flights I took were totally sub–par. (The worst was Icelandic Air. I'm bordering on frail at 5'8" and 138 pounds, yet still their seats felt more like a corset than a relaxing chair. And, they'd make you pay to use the plane's toilet if they thought they could get away with it. They even charged for soft drinks. I have since dubbed them Auschwitz Air.) It's not so difficult to meet an air traveler's needs. It's quite simple, for me. First, I want unlimited free booze, so I can get drunk enough to think that the food maybe is actually getting better on international flights, no really it is, or something. And, I want stewardesses that are cute AND charming, even without the booze. And I want ear plugs. WHAT? I CAN'T HEAR YOU. That's right, ear plugs. I'm sure there were many interesting, compelling characters on that plane—I can tell, there really were some quite interesting folks on board—but a sign of truly hospitable air courier is a little sack with earplugs inside. Free earplugs relay an important message: "You people are truly interesting and wonderful and possibly even fuckable. However, I am tired of hearing your lips waving around like a sail in the wind. Please disappear, as I'd rather fall asleep and have milky dreams about fucking a slightly photoshopped you up against the wall in the lavatory."
And I want an eye mask. I'm tired. My eyes are tired. I don't want to see anyone or anything (except for this one fantastically beautiful artist woman I met standing in the queue—she was about 50 and gorgeous and the mere sight of her made my heart skip a beat—something which hadn't happened in a while). I don't want to see the backs of anyone's head or whatever. My eyes need only feast upon the deep, rich, truest black—a darkness that can only be found in an eye mask or on the nails of an angsty goth chick that cuts herself.
So, I did something fun this time. I decided to wear really fancy clothes for my flight. I always wear a suit when I fly, for comedy's sake. But, this time I decided to wear a handmade silk shirt with this sort of campy, snug suit jacket. It was totally high fashion retro couture indie elegance. It seemed more funny this way. I figure, what kind of person might I possibly meet on a plane if I was decked out in jeans and a grey sweatshirt? I writer I respect once mentioned that she noticed she never met anyone interesting when she flew. She always flew in her most comfortable, dress–down clothing. One day it hit her—maybe she should start making her flights more interesting and dress herself up as if it was a special occasion. I had already been doing that, but this time I went a bit further than usual.
The only problem is that the shirt is silk and the jacket is polyester. And, well, it gets pretty hot inside. So, after a few hours I started to smell like old cat urine. And, I am very well acquainted with the smell of old cat urine. I should know. My mom's cat pissed on my passport about a year ago and the poor, wrinkled little booklet has reeked ever since. I tried everything to get the smell out. I sat it out in the sun. I sat it in front of a fan. I sprayed Febreeze on it. I dry cleaned it. I used cat urine smell remover, which I didn't even know existed until this all went down. I even tried bashing the cat with a broom stick and calling it names. As much as it made me feel much, much better, it had little or no effect on the smell of my passport.
A few months ago when I was on tour in Sweden, a passport officer asked me what had happened to my passport. He turned it over in his hands, observing how it had obviously been through a lot. It had been through a lot—it had been totally soaked in cat piss, cleaned with countless chemicals, and then jammed into a warm, damp pants pocket for many months. He opened it again to look at my photo. Then he asked, "What happened to your passport?"
I was really torn at that moment. I wasn't sure what to say. Should I tell him the whole truth—the piss and the cat and Febreeze and all? Or, should I spare him the misery of knowing he was infecting his fingertips with a piss soaked sponge of filth? I decided it might be better to not tell him the whole truth. Sometimes people don't need to know all the details. Your mother doesn't need to know who you think about while you masturbate. Your calculus teacher doesn't need to know about that time you got caught in the closet having sex with your neighbor's puppy—again. And, the passport agent doesn't need to know that the passport in his hands is completely saturated in urine and carries with it a stench that could melt bricks.
In any case, I am tired of sitting in this airport in Paris. So, I guess it's time to be strong, hold my nose, grab my passport, and weasel my way through customs once again. Tonight I will be in Sweden!
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